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More Evacuations Ordered as Colorado Wildfire Spreads


Flames rise from the 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, in this June 5, 2018 handout photo.

Hundreds of people in southwestern Colorado were ordered to evacuate their homes Thursday as hot, dry and windy conditions stoked a wildfire that was still 90 percent uncontained, federal and local officials said.

Residents living near Hermosa, located about 10 miles north of Durango, joined others who were ordered to evacuate nearly a week ago. The blaze dubbed the 416 Fire had burned a total of 5,103 acres (2,065 hectares) by Thursday morning, including about 1,000 acres in the past 24 hours, officials said.

By Thursday morning, the 416 Fire had displaced residents of nearly 1,200 homes since it started last Friday. Residents of nearly 1,600 other houses have been told to be prepared for possible evacuation, said Megan Graham, spokeswoman for La Plata County.

Temperatures in the mid-80s F (30 C), 15 mile (25 km) per hour winds and low humidity are in the forecast for the area Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

More than 600 firefighters battling the Colorado blaze were preparing "for another challenging day," the National Forest Service said in an alert.

The fire, which remained 10 percent contained, has expanded to the north, the west and the south but has not crossed U.S. Highway 550, which has helped firefighters protect houses east of the highway, Graham said.

Vehicles were allowed to pass through the area in single-file convoys escorted by law enforcement officers, she said.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the blaze, U.S. Forestry officials said.

The National Weather Service has placed large sections of the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah under an elevated fire risk.

In northern New Mexico, the Ute Park Fire that started May 31 had burned 36,800 acres (14,892 hectares) by Wednesday. It was 35 percent contained, according to the multi-agency group fighting the fire.

While the fire continued to burn Thursday, it was "surrounded by previously burned areas that will confine its spread," officials said.

No injuries or major damage to structures have been reported from either fire, officials said.

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